President Obama Has Abdicated His Leadership Authority

by FRANK HILL February 18, 2011
A great movie, ‘The King’s Speech’ details the tortuous efforts of King George VI to learn how to overcome his stammering and become a leader for the British people as they faced the ultimate threat to their way of life, Adolf Hitler and the Germans prior to the Second World War.

What many people forget is that King George took his throne in 1936 because his older brother, David, (King Edward VIII, don’t ask why…English monarchial rule was never one of our strong points of interest) abdicated the throne in the face of looming danger and threats to his nation and empire in the form of the satanic and serpentine Hitler in order to marry the woman he loved, Lady Wallis Simpson of Baltimore….Maryland.

President Obama has, in his recent budget submission to Congress, done the same thing as King Edward VIII:

He has abdicated his responsibility to lead our country in the face of ‘looming danger’.

We started writing Telemachus two years ago and specifically stated that this was ‘not a blog to attack President Obama, nor was it a place to praise Republican policies.’ Our whole mission has been to lay out facts and figures from respected sources for you to get to quickly and be able to understand them so you can make you own conclusions, and not just accept ‘theirs’ or the spin-livermush scrapple of their advisors and Svengalis.

With this budget submission, our reluctance to attack President Obama’s policies has eroded to Ground Zero. He has simply failed to act responsibly as our President and ‘lead’ us a workable solution on the federal budget.

Instead, this budget is nothing more than a political document designed to make the Republicans in the House Majority make the first difficult move in this high-game of political and international finance chess. It is a childish game of ‘chicken’ that President Obama is playing when he should be a ‘leader’ like, you know, other brave presidents such as maybe George Washington? Abraham Lincoln? Franklin D. Roosevelt? Ronald Reagan?

First, a little background. The Constitution gives sole authority to Congress, specifically the House of Representatives, to raise revenues to pay for the spending it authorizes. The President has absolutely zero authority over the budget resolution and can not even veto it. Congress can pass a budget and operate under its parameters without any input at all from the White House if it wants.

The 1974 Budget Impoundment Act did authorize and require the President to present a budget to Congress each year, primarily because getting 435 Representatives and 100 Senators to agree on a budget at the beginning of the year was like herding cats. Big, stupid feral cats in many cases. It is near about impossible to get them to agree to a budget at the end of the year much less at the beginning.

Anyway, the presidential ‘budget submission’ was designed to be a way to get a single document to Congress to start with….and then mark it up and amend and change as Congress sees fit and is their prerogative to do.

Think of it like a Mexican ‘pinata’: it may be beaten to a pulp but at least it ‘gets this party started’ each year.

American Presidents always put forward their priorities and hopes and dreams for the nation for the upcoming year. President Reagan wanted defense spending to go up 7% per year in 1981 to face down the Soviet threat ….and got it.  And guess what? By the end of 1991, we had ‘won’ the Cold War when the Soviet Union finally dissolved.

What is the biggest threat we face today as a nation?

Clearly, it is the acceleration of national debt we have piled on in the last 2 years on top of the then-ridiculous amount of debt built up from 2001-2006 under President Bush and the Republican Congress. National Debt in-and-of-itself is not ‘bad’ up to a point; but an acceleration of interest costs on ever-increasing amounts of debt is ‘terrible’ and can become uncontrollable at any moment.

That is why we feel that President Obama has ‘abdicated’ his authority to lead us as our President. Apparently, his ‘priority’ in the face of exploding national debt and deficits is to do nothing of any real substance. Nothing. A third-grader could have put this budget together with crayons.

He has ‘failed’ to put anything in this budget that will reform entitlements, the biggest source of growth in federal spending. He has ‘failed’ to propose any significant cuts in the discretionary, including defense, budgets.

And to top it all off with a cherry, he has completely ignored the recommendations of the very same ‘Bowles-Simpson Deficit-Reduction Commission’ that he, President Obama himself, called for, supported and praised just last December when they presented their report.

President Obama could have just taken his very own Bowles-Simpson report, had his minions at OMB in the White House put it into legislative language, inserted into this FY 2012 Budget submission….and showed ‘leadership’ abilities that might warrant a chiseling of his visage into Mount Rushmore one day.

And politically, he would have put the GOP in charge of the House into one helluva quandary:

‘Do we agree with the Bowles-Simpson recommendations in the President’s budget…or risk opposing them and showing the American people we really don’t mean it when it comes to reducing the deficit and federal spending?’

The Tea Party would have exploded! And turned into the Washington Mall into the American version of Tahrir Square in Cairo.

Instead, all we got out of this President was this simpering, quivering response to the greatest threat we face to our nation’s security going forward by insulting common sense and saying, in effect:

‘We have to ‘reduce spending’ by ‘increasing spending’…and increasing the federal debt by more than $7 trillion on top of the $14 trillion we already have on the books and can’t really handle much longer to boot!”

The ‘Great Communicator’. Indeed. Not.

This President is not serious about managing the federal budget. He has abdicated his seat of authority. It is time to start ignoring him and start looking for someone who is serious about doing so….and we think that person may be Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana for reasons we will explain later. Contributing Editor Frank Hill ran for Congress at the age of 28 and served as chief of staff for former Congressman Alex McMillan (NC-9) and Senator Elizabeth Dole (NC). He was a budget associate on the House Budget Committee for 4 years and worked on the 1994 Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform. He now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina where he does some consulting and lots of worrying about federal spending issues.

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